Japan's Must-Read Magazine

Sakura French Restaurant In Nagoya

Blow your paycheck here… if you can! Nag’s best place to sit back, quaff champagne outside, and eat sublime French cuisine while the world boils away!


The Japanese take their French food quite seriously. On the face of it, this seems rather curious as traditional French cuisine has a history of heavy sauces and long, slow cooking. If I may be so brave, the basic concept is to attenuate ingredients which, shall I say, are not always at their peak. Of course, I will no doubt be reprimanded for this gross generalization. There is no doubt that Japanese cuisine, which emphasizes fresh, often raw ingredients which are prized for the delicacy of taste is at odds with a wide range of French food as practiced in its native environment.

Simultaneously the Japanese take on French cuisine has traditionally involved small portions in what can only be described as kaiseki redux. As soon as a dish arrived the ever-formal waiter or sommelier would give you a mini-lecture of what you were about to be served. What you were about to be served, however, was not the continental French that you ate on Sunday with your au pair, but more of an amalgam of little tiny dishes of great tasting stuff that almost always left you hungry for more.

Throughout the 80s and early 90s, this type of restaurant dominated the Nagoya landscape. The main practitioners were hotels and small restaurants who were reinventing French food for the Japanese palate without blowing you away with volume. You went out for ramen afterwards. Did I mention that they were kiss-your-ass-goodbye expensive?

More recently serious foodies have taken charge. Today you can find a fresh approach to nouvelle cuisine. You will also find some mind blowing restaurants that take the Japanese concept of French food and turn the volume up a few notches. In this category, I place before you Cuisine Francais Sakura.

Mentioning this place will almost immediately generate one of the two reactions. 1: Never heard of it or 2: Have you been there! Fortunately I can answer definitively that I have been to Sakura – as have most of the big shots at any major company of note dotting the Nagtropolis. Sakura is renown for serious food and cultivated but unpretentious ambience. It will also freak out your wallet – if experienced properly.

Specifically of note is the special “Hanare” which is like an elegant tea house set behind the restaurant. Here, you can relax in the open on the deck quaffing your elixir of choice in the evening air. While the rest of humanity roasts away, you can remind yourself that you only live once. This is a pretty good place to stop and meditate on that all too salient point.

Actually, lunch at Sakura can be quite affordable. A four-course lunch with an amuse-bouche and coffee or tea starts at ¥2,625. Their five-course lunch set with an amuse-bouche and coffee or tea starts at ¥4,200.

Their dinner sets range from ¥3,675 to ¥7,855 – but take a look at their well curated wine selection, and reach for your plastic. This is where the presence of a true sommelier makes all the difference.

Cuisine Francaise Sakura


First Floor Restaurant
Lunch 11:30~14:00 (L.O.)
Dinner 17:30~21:00 (L.O.)
Closed Monday

Second Floor Wine Bar
18:00-25:00 (~ 26:00 on Fridays)
(Closed Mondays, Open on Sundays for guests who book out the entire floor only)

The Hanare is available for groups (advance booking)
Nagoya 460-0008
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